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25 Real Photos Of Women's Breasts (NSFW)

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    Photographed By Joanna McClure.

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    This article was originally published on November 1, 2014

    Discussions around breasts are rarely controversy-free. To breastfeed, or not to breastfeed? That is one question. Others include: #Freethenipple, or no? Should women revel in the attention and free drinks that a low-cut top can bring, or should they practice modesty and cover up? What about breast augmentation, currently the second most common plastic surgery performed in the U.S.? Most women think about all of these questions at some point in their lives. And, since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we wanted to explore the complex relationship women have with their breasts.

    We so often compartmentalize our public coverage of breasts into discrete narratives: breasts as sexual, breasts as nurturing, breasts as the origin of cancer. But, the reality is that women experience the interplay between these narratives (alongside breasts' many other roles and stories) every day. Our breasts can be supremely sexually pleasurable; they can be a source of anxiety about "measuring up" to cultural expectations. They can be beautiful; they can be a source of illness and pain. Each woman's breasts — and each woman's story — are uniquely her own.

    So, we bring you 25 women and their personal relationships with their breasts: difficult and celebratory, in sickness and in health.



    Want more? Get all the latest on sex and relationships, health news, fitness trends, and more over at the Refinery29 Wellness Facebook page!


    This article originally ran September 22, 2014

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    "I’m a short girl, so sometimes my big breasts threaten to overwhelm me. In fact, a lot of women in my family — including my sister — have gotten breast reductions, so I've considered it. I might go through with it someday, but I want to have kids and breastfeed them first. I also like a more natural look. I think they’re shaped really well and they’re really firm for how big they are.

    "I went through puberty super early; I was already a D-cup by the fourth grade. I developed before all the other girls in my class, and middle-school boys were really mean about it. They would grab [my breasts]. They don’t realize that it's wrong because they’re so young. [My breasts] are definitely a focal point and have been my whole life. Now, I've realized that they're just part of my body — I'm a curvy girl — so I really had to embrace them."

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    "Almost everyone calls my breasts 'mosquito bites.' I don't think of my breasts as sexual because they're not the size I would like them to be. I also hardly ever wear bras, and I can wear cute [low-cut] tops without showing cleavage at all since...my breasts are so small."

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    "I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 30 years old. I had a single mastectomy in June, and I now have a softball-shaped spacer where my breast tissue was, in preparation for my reconstructive surgery. My insurance is fighting with me on coverage. That’s where I am right now...waiting for approvals.

    "I found the lump at a bachelorette party. I was making fun of a piece of lingerie my best friend had just received, and I put it on as a joke. I felt my breasts and that's when I felt a pea-sized lump. I called maybe 12 different facilities telling them that I had found a lump and I was unsure about it. Most of them told me that because I was under the age of 40 and don’t have a family history of breast cancer, I shouldn’t worry — it was probably just a cyst. But, in the back of my head, I felt uneasy. I found out about free cancer screenings at the Harlem Hospital, and went to get tested anyway.

    "In February, they discovered I had three masses. One was DCIS-positive and two were suspicious. In June, when they removed my breast, a total of five masses were completely positive with DCIS, and one area had metastasized into invasive cancer, which could have spread into my lungs, liver, and blood through my lymph nodes. Early detection and persistence saved my life. If you feel something, say something. You know your body."

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    "Most of the time, I don’t wear a bra, which a lot of busty girls are afraid to do. But, I think it's really liberating and fun. I like the natural look. A lot of women with big busts wear really restrictive bras, but I’m just not into that. Sure, my lower backs hurts a lot, but I do Pilates and I just try to stay healthy and keep my core strong, which helps."

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    "Six months into hormones — and still not telling anyone that I was a girl — I had a girlfriend who I had just begun to date again after years of being broken up. I had come out to her just before we began dating again... We slept in the same bed one night. New Order's 'Temptation' came on, and she stuck her hand up my shirt and touched my budding, sensitive breasts for the first time. In that moment, I began to overcome shame about my changing body.

    "I had breast growth and intense sensitivity (remember puberty?) from years of hormones, but I always identified aesthetically as someone with bigger boobs. Having that surgery felt integral to my personal narrative."